When cats have babies, it is not always clear whether the mother cat will take care of her little charges. It is common for the mother cat to reject one of her babies, or even the entire litter. For us humans, this is behavior that we cannot understand and that seems unnatural to us. In such a situation, a lot of questions arise. Why is the cat mom doing this? What chance do the abandoned kittens have of surviving without their mother? What can I do? Should I do anything at all, or is there a chance that the mother will take her little ones back on her own?
It is important to know that a mother cat never abandons her charges without reason. She doesn’t act like that because she just doesn’t feel like taking care of the little ones right now. In this article, we clarify the question of the reason for this behavior. We also give you tips on how to behave in such a situation and what you can do for the little ones.
For These Reasons, Mother Cats Reject Their Kittens
In most cases, the mom cat will reject one of her babies when there are too many babies in a litter and she is unable to produce enough breast milk. The mother is often overwhelmed with the many babies. In this case, she rejects the smallest and weakest baby, who would probably have trouble surviving anyway.
Sometimes mother cats abandon their kittens because they themselves are sick or injured and unable to care for them. Cat mothers reject their kittens because they know they will not be able to care for them. They don’t want to put their young ones through the suffering of having to take care of them when they are unable to do it properly.
From time to time, a mother cat may reject her kittens even when she is in danger herself.
In the rarest of cases, the reason for this behavior is a lack of interest on the part of the mother. It can happen, especially with very young mother cats, that they do not develop maternal skills after birth and do not take an interest in their babies. The reason for this can be a traumatizing birth, for example, due to physical difficulties.
This is how I should behave as a cat owner
If you notice your mother cat not letting her kittens drink or pushing them away, you shouldn’t do anything at first. It is important that the young cat family gets enough rest after birth and can be among themselves. If kittens are petted or handled too often, they will take on the human scent and the mother may not be able to accept them because of this. It is quite possible that the mother will take back the rejected kitten of her own accord.
If, after some time, the mother cat still shows no interest in taking care of the abandoned baby, the kitten’s welfare is now in your hands. Be aware that a mother cat cannot be forced to take care of her babies and by no means try to force the baby back to its mother.
You now have several options for dealing with the situation. In any case, you could take the kittens to the vet or to a boarding kennel. There the little ones are taken care of and raised with the bottle.
You could also try to find another cat mom to take your abandoned kitten with. That sounds strange at first, but it’s not all that unusual. However, it is not certain whether the mother will accept the new and strange kitten.
Your last option is to hand-raise the little one yourself. The baby has a great chance of surviving and it remains in your care. Think carefully beforehand whether you really want to do this, because you are taking on a lot of responsibility and taking care of it takes a lot of time.
The possibility of hand-rearing
If you decide to hand raise the abandoned kitten, there are a few things to keep in mind.
The kitten needs 24-hour care. You’ll need to feed it every two to three hours in the beginning. You can get the right rearing milk from your veterinarian or pet shop.
For the rearing of a kitten, you need not only the rearing milk but also a clean doll bottle and a teat. The cat milk should be lukewarm. The doll’s bottle is filled to a quarter with the cat’s milk and the teat is attached. Then the kitten is placed on the doll’s bottle and sucks on the milk. Make sure you feed the kitten sitting up to avoid milk getting into her lungs.
With a gentle abdominal massage, you have to stimulate the baby’s digestion. Kittens can’t do it alone.
With a moistened toothbrush you can simulate the licking and cleaning of the mother.
The young should lie and sleep in a warm box. Best under a heat lamp and lined with soft blankets or towels.
Read Also: What ingredients make good cat food?
It’s perfectly normal and natural for cat mothers to sometimes reject their kittens, and it doesn’t mean that being rejected doesn’t affect survival. There are many ways a cat owner can deal with such a situation and how the abandoned kitten can be helped.